The observation made by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) – that there is lack of political will in the fight against corruption in Malawi – is a familiar one and it will not be the last time we are hearing about this.
Indeed, corruption in Malawi thrives because political leaders and government have done little to win the war against corruption. And if we, as a country, are serious about our destiny, we must pray for a leadership that is willing to take a lead in fighting against corruption.
Apart from the obvious, the Osisa report also says that there are some challenges that must be addressed. These are perceived lack of independence of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), interference by political, bureaucratic and business elites, ineffective whistleblower protection mechanisms and general distrust in existing anti-corruption approaches.
However, all these factors point to one main thing – lack of political will as influential people continue to be protected.
While it is good news to learn that there are intentions to review the existing legal framework in Corrupt Practices Act, the biggest challenge is not legislation but our failure as a country to do the right thing.
If changes are made after review, it is not obvious that some of the challenges the country faces will be eliminated. Looking at the trends regarding the fight against corruption, the key remains the commitment by the powers that be to take a lead.
Others have actually highlighted the peace that the country enjoys as a foundation for development. What is obvious is that we have not utilised this peace. Of what use would our peace be since it is obvious that corruption is holding the country back?
Sometimes criticism is directed towards the systems that are in place for doing little to get rid of corruption which has been accepted as normal in our society. But if truth be told, such systems are run by people who are aware that the fight against corruption is half-hearted.
When everyone else expected that the massive looting of government resources, dubbed Cashgate, would give Malawi a breath of fresh air, there is no sign yet that the country is on the right track as far as fighting against corruption is concerned.
This therefore explains why politicians are very important if the country is to register any success in the fight against corruption.